Basic Income: The Past and the Present
Friday, Jan. 5, 2018 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM
- Chair: Elizabeth Rhodes, Oakland Basic Income Project
“Scheme for a State Bonus” and the Early Roots of Basic Income in the United Kingdom
AbstractIn recent years, the prospect of automation has triggered, as it did in the 1970’s and 1980’s, a wide discussion of the proposal to pay every one unconditionally and as of right a so-called ‘Universal Basic Income’. In this paper I will discuss one of the earliest proposals of this kind. The pamphlet detailing the scheme was written by E. Mabel and Dennis Milner, originally presented in May 1918 at the War and Social Order Committee of the Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends and later discussed by trade-unions and the labour party. It can be considered an early, if not the first modern and full blown basic income proposal. Modern, because ‘land’ does not play an important role in the argument – as it did in the works of Paine and Spence – and because of the intention to work through a comprehensive tax-benefit system. Full-blown, because it included a rudimentary attempt to cost the scheme and because it detailed to some extent its form of administration. In this paper I will detail the content and the origins of the Scheme, discuss its reception and point at how ‘Scheme for a State Bonus’ may have been an important root of the notion of a social dividend as found in the writings of G.D.H. Cole or James Meade. I will also point at the similarities between the pro’s and con’s as debated in the early twentieth century and the present discussion.
Basic Income in the European Social Investment Welfare State
AbstractThis paper reflects on the recent developments of the basic income debate across Europe with specific reference to the social investment welfare state — a paradigm shift in European welfare reform set out by the Lisbon European Council in 2000 aimed at moving EU social policy towards an active welfare state focused on investing in human capital and labour market participation instead of “passive” benefits. This paper discusses the difficulties faced by the Lisbon agenda and its consequences on employment, poverty and social inclusion. Next, it engages in an in-depth discussion of basic income’s design features, and set out the extent to which these are compatible with the social investment paradigm. Finally, we explore whether design compatibility of basic income with the guiding principles of social investment might explain the recent interest in basic income experimentation by governments fully wedded to the active welfare state. The paper concludes by briefly exploring the implications for the future of the basic income debate and policy development.
Narratives of Change: Contemporary Basic Income Experiments in Four High Income Countries
AbstractFinland, Ontario (Canada) and Oakland (California) embarked on Basic Income (BI) experiments in early 2017 while four cities in the Netherlands were negotiating a similar undertaking and several other jurisdictions have stated their intention to follow suit. The experiments have different designs, different research questions, different formulations of BI and different narrative justifications, yet each of these jurisdictions settled on large, expensive field experiments to examine the potential impact of introducing some form of BI. This paper situates each experiment in political and historical context and compares the “narratives of change” that accompanied the introduction of BI experiments in each jurisdiction.
- B0 - General
- I3 - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty